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About Melissa Leach

Former STEPS Centre Director, current IDS Director

Melissa is a social anthropologist specialising in environmental and science-society issues. Research interests include social and institutional dimensions of environmental and technological change, and issues of knowledge, power and citizen engagement.

All posts by Melissa

Achieving sustainable development means no goal leaving gender behind

This article is part of a series on the Sustainable Development Goals. Feminists and their allies fought strongly for a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. Goal 5 now offers the potential to embed gender equality into transformative approaches to sustainable development. For this promise to be…

Made in China? Mutual learning in a global development era

This week marks the 60th anniversary of the Bandung conference when Asian and African countries gathered in Indonesia to discuss independence, peace and prosperity. The conference resulted in 10 principles based on friendship, solidarity and cooperation in this newly post-colonial era for many of the states involved, prefiguring what many now term ‘South-South’ cooperation in…

Why gender equality and sustainable development are inextricably linked

by Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies As the world moves towards Sustainable Development Goals for the post-2015 era, there is emerging debate about how target-setting and implementation might integrate across the 17 goals proposed by the Open Working Group (OWG) so that the inextricable links between, say, climate change, water and food are…

Global health meets genomics: inequality and politics

Scientific advances in the understanding of genetics and genomics have the potential to generate major improvements for human health in the near future. However, from a global health perspective, the translation of this technology into new medical treatments raises profound international and local issues around inequality, identity and insecurity. On 18th July 2014, we attended…

Resilience 2014: Limits revisited? Planetary boundaries, justice and power

By Melissa Leach, IDS Director In 1972 Meadows et al’s Limits to Growth made scientific and policy waves, as its ‘World3’ model predicted the end of growth and prosperity as rising, consuming populations ran up against resource limits. In critique, SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research) at the University of Sussex offered alternative models predicting…

Ebola in Guinea – people, patterns and puzzles

By Melissa Leach, Principal Investigator of Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium The francophone West African country of Guinea doesn’t often make international headlines, but has this week for the nastiest of reasons. An outbreak of Ebola, first identified in the forested south-east of the country in mid-March, has now spread across the country…

Living on the edge: Rethinking aid amidst complexity

By Melissa Leach, STEPS Centre director These days, a remarkably short and convenient flight takes one from Sussex UK –  where among other STEPS Centre activities this week I’ve been contributing to the post-2015 global sustainable development goals process and the international Future Earth Science Committee  – and Sierra Leone. Here, I’m on my way…

Haemorrhagic fevers in Africa: Narratives, politics and pathways of disease and response

This article by Melissa Leach, STEPS Centre director, appeared in Wellcome History 38 (Summer 2008). Haemorrhagic fevers capture popular imagination as deadly zoonotic diseases that come ‘out of Africa’. Ebola, lassa and other viral haemorrhagic fevers that are associated with wildlife vectors in forested environments figure prominently in current concerns about so-called ‘emerging infectious diseases’,…